North Korea fires missiles into sea, fresh nuclear talks in doubt

  • July 25, 2019

The flag of North Korea is seen in Geneva, Switzerland, June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

North Korea fired two short-range missiles early on Thursday from its east coast, South Korea’s military said, the first missile test since leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to revive stalled denuclearization talks.

The missiles, launched from near the coastal city of Wonsan, flew about 430 km (267 miles) out over the sea, reaching an altitude of 50 km (30 miles), before splashing down, an official at South Korea’s defense ministry told Reuters.

The firing of ballistic missiles will cast new doubt on efforts to restart denuclearization talks after Trump and Kim met at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas at the end of June.

The White House, Pentagon and U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

A U.S. official, who declined to be identified, said according to initial information at least one short-range projectile was fired from North Korea. Further analysis was underway, the official said.

South Korea had detected related signs prior to the launch and was conducting detailed analysis with the United States, the presidential Blue House said in a statement.

South Korea’s defense ministry urged the North to stop acts that are unhelpful for easing tension, saying the latest test posed a military threat.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the test had no immediate impact on Japan’s security, according to Kyodo News.

“We have confirmed that the situation is not one that impacts our country’s national security. Going forward, we will work closely with the United States,” Abe was quoted as telling reporters in a town west of Tokyo, where he is vacationing.

Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, who has taken a hardline toward North Korea, made no mention of the launches in a tweet on Thursday after a visit to South Korea. He said he had “productive meetings” with Seoul officials on regional security and building a stronger alliance.